Taxi Medallion Owner & NYC TLC Chair Call Gets Contentious
Crain's article reports on recorded March 17th call between TLC Chairwoman Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk and Medallion Owner Richard Chow, who's brother Kenny committed suicide related to Medallion debt
Crain’s New York definitely has some of the most insightful reporting on the NYC TLC industry. However, as of late any Crain’s reader is likely to tell that they are not happy with the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC). They’ve published several articles over the past months that seek to solely blame the NYC TLC for the current state of affairs in the NYC for-hire transport industry. I personally think that while the TLC does share some of the blame about what transpired in the industry over the last few years, that is not completely fair to only go at them. For example, what specifically occurred in the NYC for-hire industry has a lot of nuance (i.e. NYC wasn’t the only market Uber / Lyft disrupted, Medallion prices were inflated due to financial speculation which probably should have been regulated by a financial regulatory authority vs. NYC TLC).
In the latest Crain’s article titled ‘Stop with the suicide thing: taxi chief tells cab owner opposed to mayor’s medallion plan’, Brian Pascus seems to have gotten access to a recorded call between TLC Chairwoman Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk and taxi medallion owner Richard Chow, 62, whose brother Kenny tragically committed suicide related to taxi medallion debt. The call, which occurred on March 17th, revolved around the $65 million taxi medallion relief plan proposed by the Mayor. The call definitely seems to have had its fair share of moments and I share some article excerpts below.
“There’s no better deal. This is it,” Heredia Jarmoszuk told him. “This is the best you’re going to get.”
“I think what I have done is incredible, it’s genius, and you’re pushing it away. I don’t understand why,” Jarmoszuk told the cab owner, who had accepted her invitation to discuss the plan.
“This is the offer. There’s nothing else coming,” Heredia Jarmoszuk told Chow on the recording. “You’re not going to get a better solution. That’s the best you’re going to get because you owe $400,000. You should take it because you don’t have any other options.”
Chow told Crain’s he felt “very angry and sad” during the call with the TLC chief.
“I felt like she abused her power,” he said.
At one point, Chow brought up his brother, who owed $750,000 on a medallion loan when he killed himself.
“Listen, you need to stop with the suicide thing,” Heredia Jarmoszuk told Chow. “My uncle hung himself in 1993. I understand what suicides are like. I have my own family. It happened in my own family. So stop threatening me about suicides.”
A mayor’s spokesperson defended TLC Chairwoman Heredia Jarmoszuk’s comments stating “It’s hardly breaking news that the TLC Commissioner would defend the administration’s own policy, on or off the record. The bottom line is that we believe in this plan, it’s going to work, and we’ll do everything we can to connect owner-drivers with unsustainable medallion debt to the relief they deserve."
From the recent $2.5 billion class action suit to the increasingly hostile interaction between medallion owners and the City/TLC how do you think this all ends?
Link to Crain’s article
Auto Marketplace NYC Newsletter is written by Dawood Mian, Founder & CEO of Auto Marketplace NYC. He covers the NYC for-hire transportation industry and related news. Search Auto Marketplace NYC for cars, parts, tires, technicians, body shops, reviews & more. Find great deals at TLCMKT.COM (new site AutoMarketplace.io to be launched soon, sign-up to the newsletter if you are interested to learn more ahead of launch)